A new survey by the NASUWT teaching union of its member in secondary schools, released today, has offered further evidence about the decline in the provision of subjects not included in the Government’s performance indicator, the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).
Findings included that, of those teachers who took part in the survey and offered a response, 90.3% indicated there had been a reduction in the provision of Religious Education at their school since the EBacc was introduced. 94.5% of teachers surveyed who offered a response also indicated that there had been a reduction in the teaching of Citizenship during this period. In contrast to non-EBacc subjects, most teachers offering a response stated their school had increased its provision of subjects included in the performance indicator.
The survey follows on from a poll released last September by the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education, which found that since the EBacc was introduced, 24% of schools had reduced their number of RE subject specialist teaching staff, compared to an increase at only 11%, with 82% of those schools reporting a decrease, citing the introduction of the EBacc as the primary reason.
In July 2011 the House of Commons Education Select Committee urged in its report on the English Baccalaureate that the Government review the complement of subjects in the EBacc, and to consult more widely about how it can best measure students’ and schools’ performance.
Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, said ‘There has long been a fear that the EBacc would result in schools neglecting the provision of those subjects that the indicator does not assess, including RE and Citizenship, and the NASUWRT’s findings suggest these fears have become reality.
‘It is vital children grow up knowing about the range of religion and beliefs held in society, partly out of general knowledge, but also as a pathway to good citizenship, so that they have the tools to better understand those from different religious and cultural backgrounds. Britain is a multi-belief society, and we do not want that to become a multi-fractious society.’
‘Accord therefore urges the Government to secure the provision of high quality RE and Citizenship in all state funded schools by adding RE to a flexible, but nationally prescribed curriculum, to ensure that basic standards are met. It should also heed the Education Select Committee’s advice to review the impact of the EBacc.’
The Government’s English Baccalaureate measure assesses the percentage of students in a school who achieve grades A*-C in English, mathematics, two sciences, a foreign language and history or geography at GCSE level. The name “English Baccalaureate” has also been recently re-used by the Government as the title for new qualifications that are designed to replace GCSEs in the coming years.
‘An analysis of a Survey of teachers on the impact of the EBacc on student opportunity to study GCSE RS’ by the NATRE can be found at http://www.retoday.org.uk/media/display/NATRE_EBacc_Survey_2012_Final.pdf.
The conclusions of the ‘House of Commons Education Committee: The English Baccalaureate: Fifth Report of Session 2010–12’ can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmeduc/851/85110.htm.